Written by Jennifer Paskett on October 28th, 2009

I really liked this reading, because I saw, once again, the principles of process-oriented justice versus end-state justice. I agreed with the general principles, but did not fully understand in what manner they could be implemented in the real world. Process oriented justice is not brought about by an absence of government and an absence of law, but through a specific and limited sphere of governmental influence and a specific type of law. But people have to believe in the principles that underlie such a system.

People have lost their “belief in a justice independent of personal interest” which has resulted in the “use of legislation to authorize coercion, not merely to prevent unjust action but to achieve particular results” (2) People have lost their belief in a process-oriented justice and prefer an end-state conception of justice. This is unfortunate, because its “widespread acceptance is the indispensable condition for most of the particular things we strive for” (58). I doubt that anyone could pinpoint exactly what has caused this. I would say that it was a shift in cultural values that occurred over many years and involved millions of individuals. I am beginning to agree with Schumpeter that to some degree we are victims of our own success. Increasing economic freedom has led people to comfortable enough life-styles that they have the time and energy and independence from the system to criticize it. Intellectual freedom has allowed us to question everything that our societies are built on—even the previously inviolate principles and norms on which the system depended. But conformism and blind belief don’t seem like advocable position. And I’ve hit my word limit, so I will end on that inconclusive note.

 

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